Thursday, March 5, 2009

Caring for the Shepherds

Dearest Goddesses,

One of the other major things I took from the Brigadier General´s presentation was this story she told about reconnecting with one of her classmates from West Point a few years ago. They were exchanging emails and this woman had told her that there were three things that she focused on during her four years at West Point that allowed her to get through that difficult time. Survival, Survival, Survival. Reflecting upon her classmate´s words, she thought of Maslow´s hierarchy of needs (I included a copy from Wikipedia below). That when you are focused on your physiological and safety needs – essentially your survival, there is no way to step into the higher levels of thought to truly make a difference for yourself, an organization or even the world. You don´t get to the love/belonging level or achieve confidence in esteem or self-actualization.

I know that I have been stuck in that cycle of focusing on that worry, the "what ifs", the "what are we going to do ifs", etc. And all it´s really done is keep me present in the idea of scarcity and of not enough. This cycle of fear is very powerful and one that I think the whole world is experiencing right now which ultimately does not serve the greater good.


And related to this idea, for those of you who might be like me in a sort of "what is my purpose" state – the second speaker at this event I went to was full of energy – Lily Winsaft – and she described this time in her life when she was searching and searching for her purpose and after months of actively searching, she woke up in a cold sweat with the possibility that maybe, just maybe she didn´t have a purpose and then what has all this searching been for?! And after the shock of that idea washed over her, she felt a sort of freedom – that if there wasn´t some divine purpose set out for her, well then why couldn´t she simply take matters into her own hands and make one up! And so she decided that her purpose would be to inspire others to see the greatness in themselves.

Jack Canfield has an exercise to get to our own inner purpose or mission statement. List three times in your life that you had the greatest experience of joy. What did you experience at that time? (freedom, love, compassion, passion…) And to take note that our emotions are a good gauge for when we are on track – if we have goosebumps or are feeling passionate, etc. we are generally on course. If we´re bored or resentful, we´re off course. And that out of this, you can come up with your own mission statement or own purpose for your life. In working with a heart surgeon and going through this exercise with him, he listed his three times in his life when he experienced freedom and they were all in his personal life (playing with his grandchildren, etc.) Jack asked him if there were any times that he felt that at work, and he listed two times – once when he operated on a man who couldn´t afford to pay him (but was reproached by his partners) and when his skills allowed him to save someone. Both of these people would most certainly be dead without him. Other than that, he felt a lot of pressure – that there would always be a need for his services, but he couldn´t possibly help everyone. Jack asked him a question – If you were faced with a patient who would die if you did not operate on him, but that you would die if you did what would you choose? He said, of course, I would not operate on him. Well, you need to get that sometimes by not doing, you end up taking care of yourself and allowing yourself to be fully present to more people than if you simply gave and gave and gave. And what he came up with as a mission/purpose was "to bring joy, compassion, happiness and freedom to people in the world and experience it myself in the process."

And remember…"sometimes the shepherds need caring for too." Another gift of insight from the Brigadier General.

Love to you my shepherds.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Onward The Journey

Dearest Goddesses,

I´ve been hiding – camped out in my hermit crab shell. And after some loving prodding from my external GPS (thank you, thank you, thank you) I am emerging. Onward the Journey.

So, a brief update to my ladies – I´m 11 weeks pregnant which is very exciting and nerve-racking and scary and… I was also laid off – and while I am grateful that I am no longer working where I was working, it´s never good to the self-esteem to be on the receiving end of a pink slip or have to start from scratch on the job search. But…onward the journey.

I suppose I´ve also been confronted by the next Goddess in the series – The Erinyes which represent Crisis. Jeez, I didn´t need any more crisis on my hands and I certainly didn´t want to create any crises for any of you! But I don´t think I'm that powerful. Truth is, crisis will show up when it shows up how it shows up – why not have the tools to deal with it. I suppose since I made the decision to be confronted with The Erinyes, I have been going through my own crisis of sorts – a redefinition of who I am in light of the changes in my world these days. Sometimes I feel so far away from that Patty who was facilitating creativity groups, teaching and learning and being creative. And I suppose there are some aspects of that Patty that I don´t miss – but I´m looking to reclaim that creative spirit and that passion. I feel like it´s been a long time since I´ve allowed myself to be passionate. Which leads me to what I want to share today.

Last week I had the distinct privilege to be invited to a group put on by Atlanta Woman Magazine called "Empowering Yourself". It really was perfect. The keynote speaker was Brigadier General Anne F. Macdonald who was a part of the first class of women to graduate from West Point in 1980. She shared her experience, which she called the most difficult period of her life, but how going through that experience really paved the way to the incredible leader that she is today. (She didn´t underestimate the power of hindsight in her ability to make these realizations. At the moment of her graduation, she walked out of there ready to never look back.)

She described that time of her life as her spiritual desert, but wanted to emphasize three points of leadership that the experience taught her:

  1. It is up to you to give yourself permission to succeed. No one else will grant you that permission and you may encounter people who do not always have your best interest at heart, not to mention the fact that the biggest obstacle that you will probably face on your journey to success is your own self standing in your way. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION.
  2. Allow yourself to adapt in order to achieve success. The world may not look exactly how you´d like it to look, so it is up to you to adapt in order to succeed. She said that when she got to West Point the circumstances were NOT set up to ensure her success. It´s not always going to look the way you want it to look.
  3. Fail Forward. There will be failures in your attempts at success. If you learn from those mistakes, you make sure that you fail forward and not backward.


She shared so much more that I will share with you in the next few posts.

Thanks for listening, it really feels good to be sharing again!

Love to you,


The Erinyes - Crisis

The following is excerpted exactly from The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky and the illustrations are by Hrana Janto. For more information on their work, please visit the following websites:

Amy Sophia Marashinsky:
You can download the meditations included in the ritual suggestions at

Hrana Janto:

We snap you

crack you

flapjack you

We are that wild chaotic place

that sharp edge

the point that activates your fears

the point of no return

the point where anything can happen

We always demand your death

or complete surrender

you can´t get beyond us

around us

or over us

you must meet us and go through us

We are the cosmic steamroller

the place of greatest opportunity

We are crisis.


The Erinyes (pronounced eh-rin'yees) were the forces of retribution personified as three immortal dark maiden Goddesses. They took revenge and punished anyone who killed their kin in matriarchal pre-Hellenic Greece. In poet Aeschylus´s play, The Oresteia, Orestes – the son of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon – kills his mother, thus enraging the Erinyes who go after him. When his trial results in a deadlock, Athene, Goddess of Wisdom, is called on to cast the deciding vote. Her vote sets Orestes free from ay punishment for the matricide. The Erinyes, unappeased, demand vengeance. Athene consoles them with promises of special rituals in their honor. They are then renamed the Eumenides, or kindly ones.

Meaning of the Card

The Erinyes are howling after you because you and/or a loved one are in crisis. The way to nurture wholeness for you now lies in reaching out and asking for help. Whether it is from the human, animal, or spiritual kingdoms, help is required at this juncture of excess, psyche-breaking stress, and instability. Identify and name the kind of crisis you are in. If your crisis is psychological, call a crisis hot line or make an appointment with a healer of psyches. If your crisis is financial or job-related, seek financial assistance or find a career counselor. If it involves your health, visit a health-care practitioner. It is vital for you to get the help and support you need, for you are not in a place where you can help yourself. Do something. Or ask a friend or loved one to do it for you. Crisis in your life also brings the experience of crisis into the lives of your loved ones. Don't blame yourself or try to take care of them. Be selfish. Deal with your crisis and let them deal with theirs. The Erinyes say all crisis are accelerated growth/transformation points that bring opportunities. However, before you get to the opportunity, you must get through the crisis, and for that you must reach out for help.

Ritual Suggestion: The Cocoon

Click the link below to download the meditation for The Erinyes for $.75

The time to do this is now, wherever you are. No time to look for perfect conditions. Use this ritual suggestion to give yourself some breathing space while dancing with your crisis. There is no limit to the number of times you can do the Cocoon.

You can sit or stand anywhere. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and release it gently. Sense, feel, or see a cocoon being built around you of the most nurturing and comforting materials. Do you like silk or cotton flannel? Does lambswool or a blanket of your favorite flowers soothe you? It could even be a cocoon of rosy pink light or your favorite soothing sounds. Once you have wrapped that cocoon around you, fill it with the love of those who care about you. You can also include animals, plants, stones, the Goddess, trees, the sky, the universe.

Once your cocoon is filled, allow yourself to take the love and comfort of your cocoon into every cell in your body. Feel yourself handing over to the Goddess the challenge that overwhelms you. Feel the comforting sensation as she takes the challenge from you. Keep breathing in the comfort of your cocoon until you feel full. When ready, take a deep breath and exhale gently, open your eyes, and come ot of the cocoon. Or you may prefer to stay in while you go about your tasks in the world. Remember if you leave it, you can always come right back by taking a deep breath and sensing, feeling or seeing your cocoon around you.